Beans, beans the magical fruit…
Beans have a generally positive rep, with most of tucking into the classic meal that is beans on toast on the regular. But what about other beans – the ones not swimming in tomato sauce?
In this article we are going to delve into the less popular – but still very worthy - black bean. You will learn about all about the health benefits of black beans, if you should be eating them and how to incorporate them into your diet.
What are black beans and where do they come from?
Black beans are part of the kidney bean family – with over 500 beany cousin varieties. They’re native to the Americas, but that doesn’t stop the whole world from enjoying them.
You’ll often find them in a tin in your local supermarket. Unsurprisingly, they are black on the outside with a white centre and resemble a less ‘boat shaped’ kidney bean. When cooked, they have a strong yet slightly sweet flavour with a creamy texture.
Black beans nutrition breakdown
Serving size: 100g of canned black beans contains:1
- Energy 240kj / 57kcal
- Fat 0.6g
- of which saturates 0g
- Carbohydrates 6.3g
- of which sugars 0g
- Fibre 5.1g
- Protein 4.1g
- Salt 0.05g
- Iron 2.1mg (15% RI)
- Magnesium 49mg (13% RI)
- Phosphorus 130mg (19% RI)
- Sodium 239mg (10% RI)
- Zinc 0.9mg (9% RI)
- Thiamine/Vitamin B1 0.09mg (8% RI)
- Riboflavin/Vitamin B2 0.06mg (17% RI)
- Folate/Vitamin B9 140ug (70% RI)
What are the health benefits of black beans?
As you can see from the nutrient info above, black beans are high in protein, fibre and carbohydrates, with very little sugar – perfect!
A single serving can also provide you with a decent percentage of several energy-supporting B vitamins and important minerals like iron you need every day to stay in tip top health. Keep reading to find out more
Full of fibre
Black beans provide you with both soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Soluble fibre slows down your digestion and helps you feel fuller for longer and can improve nutrients absorption from the food you eat.
- Insoluble fibre adds bulk to your stool, which means keeping more comfortable and regular bathroom habits.
Packed with protein
One of the best qualities of black beans is their very high protein content. Protein is important for our whole body, from supporting healthy muscles and other tissues to helping maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.
As black beans are plant-based, you get all the veggie benefits as well as the protein – a double nutrition whammy, if you like!
Supports healthy bones
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals we can consume. It plays a part in over 300 enzymatic actions in the body, including our metabolism. It’s also essential for maintaining healthy bones, and black beans can certainly help you get your fill.
Contributes to maintenance of normal blood pressure
Potassium is known to help people maintain healthier blood pressure levels, and black beans are a great source.
Should anyone avoid eating black beans?
Most people can benefit from adding black beans into their diet. Especially vegetarians and vegans who can use them in place of meat and fish to fulfil their protein needs.
However, legumes such as black beans, can cause gas and intestinal discomfort in some people, especially those who aren’t used to them. Try to introduce them slowly into your diet if your gut is sensitive and you don’t usually eat them.
Another tip is to opt for tinned black beans and make sure to drain all the water, as this should ease some of the digestive issues.
How to cook black beans in a healthy way
Now you know why you should be tucking into black beans, let’s discuss how.
Refried black beans
Creamy, filling and delicious – refried black beans make an excellent side to tacos, burritos, quesadillas and a lot other Mexican favourites.
How to make: Add boiled black beans to a pan of sautéed diced garlic and onions. Then simply simmer for a few minutes and mash them all up into a thick purée.
Alternative beans on toast
Love beans on toast, but fancy shaking things up a bit? Try switching classic baked beans for a homemade black bean concoction.
How to make: Brown some onions and garlic in a pan, before adding tinned or cooked pinto beans, tomatoes and a splash of water. Add in herbs and spices of your choice – we recommend coriander, cumin and your favourite chilli – and cook until fragrant and soft. Then pour over toasted and buttered bread – mm!
Black bean dip
What is a bowl of nachos without something delish to dip them in? Nothing! A black bean dip is an easy and healthy way to enjoy all the goodness and tastiness of this humble bean. You can also enjoy with carrot and cucumber sticks if you want an even healthier snack.
How to make: Add cooked or tinned black beans to a little oil, paprika, garlic and coriander to a blender with 2 tbsp of water. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper and then get dipping!
Want more? Check out these gorgeous black bean recipes:
- Black bean burger with guacamole and chipotle mayo
- Chipotle black bean and quinoa chilli
- Bonfire Night bean and meat-free sausage casserole
- Smoky bean tacos
- Mexican rice and beans – just sub the kidney beans for black beans
- Plus 3 more tasty ways to use black beans
We hope that’s explained the nutrient-packed goodness of black beans and hope you enjoy experimenting with them!
Last updated: 13 April 2021